13 Best Beaches in Sri Lanka

With stretches of white sandy beaches across its island, it’s no wonder Sri Lanka is now catching up with other Southeast Asian countries as a tourist destination. You can basically go anywhere in Sri Lanka and encounter beautiful beaches, but to make it easier for you, we’ve created a list of 13 best beaches to visit in Sri Lanka.

From the west coast to the east, we tried to include every worthy beach on our list. There are also destinations for those wanting a short getaway from the cities. Read on and find out which one suits your needs!

13 Best Beaches in Sri Lanka

Hiriketiya

Located on the south coast, this beautiful cove is a must-visit if you ever go around the Dikwella area. Although it’s becoming more and more popular, this beach is still pristine and relatively untouched. The pinnacle is definitely the horseshoe bay, a nice little enclave of a beach with some selection of affordable places to stay at.

Bentota

This one is located in the west coast area, with stretches of white beaches that go on and on. Bentota is a little bit more developed, with beautiful hotels and alluring boutique stays. It’s also a hub of water sports in Sri Lanka, with choices like kayaking, jet skiing and boat trips to explore the mangroves and waterways. If you’re into watersports, this beach is a perfect visit.

Arugam Bay

This east coast beach located in the village of Arugam Bay is an increasingly sought after destination for surfers. It’s said that Arugam Bay has Sri Lanka best waves, and has a laid back vibe that’s perfect for surfers. It’s not as developed as some other areas, so your choice of accommodations are modest and casual lodgings that will surely appeal to the more adventurous side of you.

Mirissa

Another southern coast beach, Mirissa is one of the most Instagram-able beaches in Sri Lanka with its palm trees and clear waters. It’s also a whale watching area in Sri Lanka, so you have that to look forward to. Because of its high value, this region is more developed, and you can have a wide choice of accommodations here: either high-end hotels or casual lodgings.

Uppuveli

Located on the east coast, Uppuveli is a sleepy village with soft white beaches. It’s more off the beaten tracks, so it’s not very developed. But it’s a great area for those who want to relax and unwind. You can also do a little bit of whale watching or diving in Uppuveli.

Nilaveli

Located in the northeast part of Sri Lanka, Nilaveli is a broad sandy beach with wide sandy white beaches that you can enjoy. There are many upscale, luxurious hotels here that you can choose that overlooks the lagoon and the ocean. It’s also great for sightseeing as it’s one of the center of Tamil culture.

Kalkudah

Another east coast beach, Kalkudah has beaches that stretch to 1 mile long. The calm waves and wide beach is great for swimming and kayaking. It’s also protected by the reef and has great views underwater, so you’ll definitely want to try snorkelling here. Previously undeveloped, this area is starting to be more popular. You can have your choice of modest lodgings or upscale hotels here.

Unawatuna

Located on the south coast, near the beautiful colonial town called Galle Unawatuna is a great beach that’s a big destination for ecotourism thanks to its large coral reef offshore. This is another one on the list that you should go to if you’re interested in diving. You should also stay in Galle, a must-visit and a great city for sightseeing.

Negombo

If you’re staying in Colombo, you can get your beach fix by visiting Negombo. It’s located only about an hour away from the capital city and has a great holiday atmosphere. There’s bands and musicians playing along the streets and restaurants too. it’s an all round wonderful area to visit. If you’re interested in staying, there are also some high-end hotels with beautiful views to choose from.

Tangalle

Another southern coast beach, this beach is just calling for a photoshoot. The stark difference between its pristine white beach and its dark blue waters is one of the main attraction here. One look at its nature will make you want to stay forever. Due to its unique nature, you’ll bound to find luxurious hotels here. Some even have their own mini waterparks.

Muhathuwaram

An eastern coast beach, Muhathuwaram is a remote fishing village that’s not developed yet. But don’t worry, there’s a number of mid-scale hotels that you can stay in. The beaches are golden and the water is calm and aqua. This is the perfect getaway for those wanting a little relaxing time off the beaten tracks and less crowded.

Hikkaduwa

Located on the southwest coast, this is another great beach for surfers and dwellers alike. The dense foliage and palm trees are also ideal for nature lovers; there’s even a national park located in this region. There’s also a marine turtle sanctuary and coral reefs; so you definitely want to try snorkelling or diving here.

Mount Lavinia

Another local beach that’s very close to its capital city, Mount Lavinia is only about 15 minutes away by train. Although it only has a short stretch of beach, the sunsets are beautiful enough that makes it worth it. Be mindful, due to its location this beach can get very crowded during weekends.